My tire exploded on the way home

Destroyed Tire

My tire exploded on the way home

I’ve never seen a tire do this before on a car. I literally looked out my rear view mirror to see what was happening when it blew and chunks of rubber started shooting out of the wheel well. Honestly, I got lucky.

4 thoughts on “My tire exploded on the way home”

    1. I was fine. Annoyed, but fine. Here’s the whole story:

      So I left Savannah a tad later than I meant to, as me and Matt crossed wires and ended up having a late lunch instead of an early one, and we had a lot to discuss. Anyway, I finally left town around 1pm and took off.

      Now, the tire had already had issues. Before I left Memphis, I of course checked up on the car, being that I don’t drive it much. The thing only gets driven once every month or two. That tire turned out to only have 18 lbs of air in it, when it should have been around 30 or so. So I pumped it up, and left for Atlanta on Wednesday. When I got there, I checked it, and it was still holding air just fine. I went to Savannah the next day and checked it again there and it was still okay. So I thought no more about it.

      Drove all around Savannah for the weekend, went out to Tybee and back twice. No problems.

      But, about two hours after I left Savannah on Monday, all of a sudden the car went nuts. I was doing 80 on the freeway and the driver rear tire just started shaking and rumbling and such. I immediately slowed down and started to pull off, and before I got below 60, I looked out my rear-view and saw it blow. Bits of rubber flew out of the wheel well and the thing just totally shredded itself.

      Luckily, I maintained enough control to not slam the brakes, and I slowed down gently off the side of the road, pulling into the grass as much as I could, so as not to have traffic zooming by three inches from me (Georgia drivers are dicks, BTW).

      Get out, and this was what I found. Looking back onto the freeway, the belt part of the tire had totally ripped apart into sections no bigger than a foot across. The sidewalls were chunks no larger than my thumb. The tire had simply disintegrated. The remains of the tire actually had smoke pouring off them when I first looked at it.

      My spare is one of those stupid doughnut things, and I knew for a fact that the last time I had had to use it, that I had somewhat damaged it. I couldn’t remember if I had fixed it or not, but I checked and it turned out I had. At one point, the rim on it was bent, but I had taken a hammer to it and bent it back enough to no be obviously so dangerous to use. Still, driving on the thing is no fun.

      So, swapped out the tire, got on Google Maps and found “tire shop” about 10 miles away. Fortunately, I had stopped near an exit, so I could just take back roads there and not be a total disaster on the freeway. Drove there at about 40 mph with the hazards blinking the whole way, and bought a new tire for about $100.

      No big deal, really, just an annoying hassle. The new tire made it home alright, although I think it may be a bit wobbly, as there was a weird shimmy when I was going below 60. Fortunately, I almost never do that. :)

      In the end, what I think happened was that a combination of low pressure over a few months (from me not driving it) combined with possible dry-rot (same reason) caused a structural weakness in the sidewall (thus the air loss). The late time of me leaving Savannah (due to a late lunch with Matt) meant that the roads were much hotter (with the sun being like it was) and that combined with me doing 80 in the thing (adding centrifugal force) got it hot enough that the weak spots became rips, which rapidly shredded the sidewalls, leading to what you see here. As you can see, only like an inch of either sidewall is left on there, the rest just vaporized.

      Still, I’m fine, and now I have a new tire. My friend Mikey borrowed my car a while back for a trip to New Orleans, and he had an epic tire fail on that trip too. In his case, the tire wasn’t quite as bad, it just had a big hole ripped into it. I think he hit something. Still, that means the car currently has two almost brand new tires on it, and two really old ones. So I think I’m going to just go replace those two and leave the newer ones on there. Hopefully I can get around to it before going to Birmingham next month. :D

      1. Well, at least you had an exciting trip back! Please don’t forget to change those other two tires before you leave next month. The community needs you alive and well.

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